School Leadership Day 2006

The 21 current Leadership Award holders gathered from as far afield as Elgin, Truro and Cumbria at Paddington Arts in London, specially chosen for its link with the Foundation.

The intention was for the students:

  • to gain a greater insight into the Foundation and the Fellowship;
  • to hear different views about the concept of Leadership;
  • to meet each other and some of the Rank Trustees and Executives.

The day was organised from 10am to 3pm and structured across various sessions to ensure a blend of formal presentations with more informal interactive approaches requiring their participation.

After some initial icebreakers and introductions:

  • Mr Packard explained how his grandfather came to establish the Rank Foundation and outlined some of the work the Foundation does. He also commented on the wide range of leadership styles there are, reminding the students that they had all been selected for the Award because of their outstanding leadership potential. He suggested that a real leader is one who succeeds in influencing other people to do what (s)he believes to be right.  He gave two examples from the classroon [encouraging others to stop someone bullying; influencing groups not to give the new young teacher a hard time]; decisive action at key moments regardless of personal popularity was a key sign of a leader in action.
  • Two students then spoke enthusiastically of their 2 week Community Action Placements; Charlie Harris commented on their talks and some of the administrative details necessary for the smooth running of the programme.
  • Alastair Rolfe then gave a personal account of some of the ups and downs of his life as he aimed to become a publisher. He stressed the very different people for whom he had worked and their very contrasting leadership styles: some bosses who told you what to do and some leaders whom you wanted to follow. He concluded by suggesting real leaders:
    • have the ability to inspire others,
    • have a fine sense of humour
    • give time to charity throughout their lives.
  • There followed a couple of initiative/leadership exercises against the clock. In the second each of four teams had 20 minutes to use some given material to devise, create and market a Smoothie presenting the finished product to a panel of judges. Much fun was had by all and even if knowledge of Health and Safety issues was not a key skill in evidence, plenty of individuals showed their strengths in various practical, creative and persuasive ways.
  • After a sandwich lunch and a team photograph we were all handed a DVD of last year's proceedings.
  • Turning Points. Just as Alastair Rolfe had referred to some turning points in his life, the next speakers did the same, the four visitors from London Youth and from Westminster House Youth Club shared some of their 'turning points', as two of them were interviewed by their line managers.
    • Wayne was a successful sportsman as a youth but some inappropriate decisions on his part led to custodial sentence. After release from prison where he had reassessed his life he started to volunteer and was beginning to turn things round when he was the victim of a stabbing and severe but incomplete paralysis. In interview with Kate he explained how he overcame this devastating experience.
    • Louise teased out of Debrahan how his dyslexia was never noticed in the education system with very depressing results. He was picked up through his contact with the Salmon Centre and has developed greatly under the Rank GAP programme and then the Youth or Adult? Course and his work with the Westminster House Youth Club; he is poised now for a full time career in Youth work.

The audience was spellbound by these frank accounts.

  • Simon Beaufoy spoke next about his determination to be associated with the film world and how a series of chance events seemed to shape his future. His engaging manner also had the audience enthralled as he described how he came to chance fame through his script writing of "the Full Monty". Questions flowed and all were disappointed when the clock forced an unwelcome end. 
  • The Fellowship approaches its third birthday: Mr Chaffer drew proceedings to a close with an account of the Fellowship activities and thanks to those who had led to the success of this Leadership Day.
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